Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Art Photos of Michael Starkman

The five-story building at 49 Geary in downtown San Francisco, between Grant and Kearny, looks like a maze of bureaucratic offices from its hallways...

...but on closer inspection, the place turns out to be the home for dozens of art galleries.

On Saturday afternoon, there was an artists' reception for Michael Starkman (above left) at the Corden/Potts Gallery, in a show entitled Where Nepenthe Flows and All Hallows Eve. (For a better look, check out Starkman's website by clicking here.)

Starkman has taught art and photography across the entire country over the last couple of decades, and is still using black-and-white film which he processes in his own darkroom, a skill set which is soon to become as rarified as woodblock printing. According to signage on the wall, "These photographs began during the year following my mother's death. For me, they are about opening myself to the darkness at the edge of beauty, mourning, slow healing, and the awe of staring at the Veil."

Starkman is also currently working as a clerk in the bowels of Census Bureau bureaucracy alongside myself and the arts writer Allegra and playwright Carol (above), which is how we have all met each other.

Among all the smart, odd characters I've encountered in that place over the last two months, Michael strikes me as the wisest and gentlest. It was a pleasure seeing him in his moment of public triumph.

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